After watching Shui Ling leave, Yun Xuan smiled and said, “Good, I’ll take you to the Artifact Hall to retrieve your Bone Shield. Grandmaster Ma should have fixed it by now.”
Yang Kai smiled happily, greatly looking forward to it.
Besides the small sword in his Knowledge Sea, the Bone Shield was the only artifact Yang Kai currently had.
And in the Tong Xuan Realm, where masters appeared one after another and crisis loomed around every corner, Yang Kai felt that his Bone Shield would be able to play an important role, so he had not hesitated to use the precious Ice Flame Star Sand and borrow Yun Xuan’s Sky Cicada Jade in order to let Grandmaster Ma repair it.
With the Bone Shield, he would gain another layer of protection.
Now that ten days had passed, it was naturally time to retrieve his Bone Shield.
Upon hearing this, the big bearded man and the others all expressed interest in coming along to see just what kind of artifact Yang Kai was having fixed, so Yun Xuan could only helplessly let them follow.
Arriving at the Artifact Hall, Yun Xuan led Yang Kai back to the innermost room where they found Grandmaster Ma waiting.
Upon seeing Yang Kai, Grandmaster Ma didn’t say much and simply handed over the Bone Shield.
The patterns and designs on the Bone Shield had returned to their original appearance and nothing about it seemed particularly out of the ordinary, but when Yang Kai held it in his hands he immediately felt that the Bone Shield was a little different.
All of the scars marring the shield’s face had been completely repaired and the bone spurs around its edge had also been reconnected but it also had a kind of icy chill circulating around it, clearly having taken on some of the characteristics of the Ice Flame Star Sand.
The Bone Shield’s grade was now also much higher than before!
Yang Kai was incredibly happy.
“Mysterious Grade Top-Rank, unfortunately it couldn’t be promoted directly to Spirit Grade, but it should be enough for you for now. With it, anyone below the Transcendent Realm won’t be able to break through your defense and even if you have to face a Transcendent, you’ll be able to put up some resistance,” Grandmaster Ma said lightly.
“Many thanks, Grandmaster Ma,” Yang Kai nodded in appreciation.
“No need for that, this is just business. This time, this old master especially helped you out of consideration for Yun girl’s face, but, next time, you need this old master to fix an artifact; you won’t get off so lightly.”
Yang Kai gently nodded and Yun Xuan smiled and said, “Then we’ll be taking our leave.”
Hearing this, Grandmaster Ma suddenly let out a sigh, “Yun girl, take care of yourself, there’s no need to act so rash.”
“I know, thank you for your concern, Grandmaster.”
Upon leaving the Artifact Hall, the bearded man and the others rushed over to see Yang Kai’s artifacts, and Yang Kai didn’t refuse, taking the Bone Shield out to let them observe it, secretly anticipating seeing the envy in their eyes.
Although all of them also had Mysterious Grade artifacts, most of them were just Mysterious Grade Low-Rank so there was still a noticeable gap with his Mysterious Grade Top-Rank Bone Shield.
Also, the Bone Shield was an artifact that specialized in defense. Having such a treasure was almost equal to having an extra life, so all the others were quite jealous of Yang Kai.
“Yang Kai, I’m afraid we won’t be able to continue accompanying you,” Yun Xuan looked at him slightly apologetically, “The Union has assigned us another mission so we’ll have to leave here soon. If you’d like, you’re welcome to continue staying in our house for now, but I can’t say for certain when we’ll be back.”
Yang Kai’s expression became serious, hesitating for a moment before saying, “I’d like to accompany you.”
“You want to come with us?” Yun Xuan was confused for a second before suddenly smiling, “Do you want to join our Bold Independent Union?”
However, Yang Kai shook his head, “I owe you a favour for that piece of Sky Cicada Jade, if I accompany you out and bump into some kind of opportunity I’ll be able to pay you back. Don’t worry, I won’t ask for anything regarding your mission’s reward.”
Yun Xuan’s brow suddenly furrowed slightly, apparently somewhat unease; after all, she was not very familiar with Yang Kai and had been treating him in such a warm manner mainly out of consideration for Shui Ling’s face.
Now that Shui Ling was gone though, she didn’t need to concern herself with Yang Kai so much anymore.
Gifting him that piece of Sky Cicada Jade in order to build a connection with Water Spirit Temple was a price she could afford.
But now Yang Kai suddenly saying he wanted to act together with them for their mission put Yun Xuan in a difficult position.
An Immortal Ascension Boundary Seventh Stage cultivation wasn’t low, but Yang Kai seemed quite young so she had questions about his real combat power, if her team suddenly found themselves in a dangerous situation and he panicked, it would very likely bring trouble to her team and cause unnecessary losses.
As a team leader, Yun Xuan had to consider such issues.
“If you let me come with you, maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised,” Yang Kai said when he saw her hesitant expression, “In any case, while we’re together, I will follow your commands.”
“Surprised?” Yun Xuan smiled thinly, hesitating for a moment longer before suddenly nodding, “Good, since you want to return my favour in this manner, I won’t refuse you, but you must remember, during this mission, you must faithfully obey my orders, if because of you any of my team members encounter life-threatening danger, I’ll make you pay an appropriate price.”
Yang Kai shrugged his shoulders casually and agreed.
He really didn’t like the feeling of owing others and had constantly been looking for an opportunity to pay Yun Xuna back for the piece of Sky Cicada Jade she had given him. Only after he did so could he depart from here and begin looking for Su Yan.
“Then let’s move out,” Yun Xuan waved her hand.
There is no need to prepare anything, the members of the Yun Xuan’s team were all long-time veterans so before they had left the house they had already gathered their equipment and supplies.
After Yun Xuan’s team exited Bold Independent City, the bearded man quickly ran up to Yang Kai and pulled his arm, asking curiously, “Brother Yang, what do you mean pleasantly surprised? What kind of surprise will we get to see if you come with us?”
Yang Kai already had a profound understanding of this bearded man’s persistent shamelessness, so he chose to observe the philosophy that silence was gold.
The entire journey, Yang Kai used his abnormally powerful Divine Sense to investigate their surroundings, hoping to find something of value.
Unfortunately, he gained nothing for his efforts.
However, from the chatter between Yun Xuan’s team members, Yang Kai gradually figured out what their mission was.
Apparently a number of unknown Monster Beasts had appeared in a place called Thousand Leaf Forest which was roughly seven or eight days travel from Bold Independent City. Many passing cultivators and even disciples of Bold Independent Union had lost their lives to these beasts.
Thousand Leaf Forest was incredibly valuable to Bold Independent Union, not only because of the rare herbs that grew in this forest, but also because of the Sun Tin ore vein that lay in the middle of the forest.
This Sun Tin ore wasn’t a particularly high grade material, but if Artifact Refiners smelted and refined it, it had many uses.
This accentuated the value of Thousand Leaf Forest to Bold Independent Union.
According to those who managed to escape with their lives, the strength of these Monster Beasts wasn’t great, all of them barely Sixth-Order, but their number were quite large.
Another team had been sent ahead to investigate the situation and now Yun Xuan’s team was being deployed as reinforcements to annihilate the Monster Beasts.
The Monster cores from these Monster Beasts as well as their various body parts and blood were all useful Alchemy and Artifact Refining materials. With such a juicy piece of meat being served up to them, how could Bold Independent Union not try to swallow it?
The entire trip was quite relaxed and after eight days, a vast and boundless forest appeared in front of Yang Kai’s eyes.
On the outskirts of the forest, a young man stood waiting and when Yun Xuan’s team, or rather Yun Xuan appeared, his face lit up and he warmly greeted her, “Yun Xuan, you’ve finally arrived?”
His smile was sincere and there were clear signs of love on his face. He seemingly was quite concerned with Yun Xuan and when he spoke, his gaze never left her for an instant.
Yun Xuan stared back at this young man in amazement, “Zhuo Luo, why are you here? Weren’t you out completing a different assignment?”
The young man named Zhuo Luo smiled and replied without disguise, “I heard that you would be coming here, so I decided to come offer my assistance.”
Yun Xuan couldn’t help but frown, her expression immediately becoming a few degrees colder, “What is the current situation?”
“Xin Yu’s team has already been here for more than a dozen days and have investigated everything regarding this pack of Monster Beast. They’ve concluded that they really aren’t that strong so we’ve only been waiting for your team’s arrival before beginning the cleanup,” Zhuo Luo politely explained.
“Good. Lead the way.” Yun Xuan nodded lightly.
Zhuo Luo smiled happily and led Yun Xuan’s team towards a nearby area.
“Fuck, it’s this bastard again,” The bearded man and many of the others suddenly began grumbling in dissatisfaction, all of their eyes glaring towards the young man named Zhuo Luo, their teeth grinding so hard it was audible to Yang Kai who was standing nearby.
“You guys have some kind of grudge?” Yang Kai asked offhandedly.
“There’s no grudge between us, it’s just uncomfortable having to see him,” Ji Hong muttered, “This little brat mouth only spouts crap and his attitude is terrible. Every day, all he’s thinking about is women. Many of the female disciples in the Union have already been harmed by him and six months ago, he began targeting our team’s captain. Of course, Captain never paid any attention to him, but even so… Don’t judge him by his clean appearance, it’s all a facade. He’s just a sinister brat who many times has used the excuse of doing missions to try to get close to Captain.”
“Oh…” Yang Kai faintly felt he shouldn’t delve into the subject any further.
To him, the internal struggles of Bold Independent Union had nothing to do with him, so he naturally wouldn’t go sticking his nose into other people’s business.
Ji Hong didn’t bother lowering his voice much so Zhuo Luo obviously heard him, the latter turning around a shoot at glance over at Ji Hong and grinned disdainfully.
After about a half a day or so following Zhuo Luo through the forest, Yang Kai suddenly felt the auras of several people waiting up ahead.
From a quick estimate, there were at least a dozen or so.
Bold Independent Union disciples functioned in small teams whenever they went on missions, each team consisting of about five to eight members. For example, Yun Xuan’s team had a total of eight.
Zhuo Luo had brought his team to help, and this Xin Yu, who had apparently been the first sent here to gather intelligence, was also the captain of her own team.
However, Yang Kai was keenly aware that amongst the cultivators waiting for them, there was also a Transcendent.
Obviously, Bold Independent Union was concerned there might be some unforeseen accidents here, so they had deployed a Transcendent in order to oversee the operation. With such a master assuming overall command, everyone would feel much more secure.
When they finally emerged from the forest and into a clearing, Zhuo Luo waved to the people in front and called out, “Yun Xuan’s team is here.”
The Transcendent Realm master, a middle-aged man, gave a light nod in response.
Beside this master stood a petite woman with a somewhat arrogant expression on her face. This woman had a full chest, shapely hips, causing Ji Hong and the men in Yun Xuan’s team to unconsciously sweep their gazes over her, their eyes becoming somewhat bloodshot as their temperatures rose.